WEDNESDAY IN THE WORD October 11, 2023
“A SHARED LIFE IN CHRIST”
GALATIANS 5:22-26 NRSV
More than ever, it is essential we embody the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ together, stress the virtues of compassion, loyalty, sharing and harmony. We express our heartfelt solidarity with those who yearn for true harmony. We join leaning toward a deeper relationship more than ever. But this relationship is not a one-way street — it is a give-and-take from both sides, full of mutual caring, a loving generosity. An intriguing concept is holy freindship. But what upholds this concept is critical to developing deep, long-term relationships.
Long-term relationships, beyond our familiarity, include patience, gentleness, tolerance and even mercy. If you consider this idea indicates deep relationships will always be happy, lovey-dovey all the time. Think again. It means walking through the muck of life together and see the good, bad, and ugly in one another. If course, we see the good in friends, but why the ugly? Because we’re human. If we’re dedicated to one another, then we will spend a lot of time together, and there will be no escaping the very human, sinful side we all have. And that’s where mutual forbearance comes in. This is the forbearance of the long suffering the Lord has towards sinners who need him. This forbearance is our “bearing forth” of one another, together in Christ.
This means whether in our likenesses and differences, there are times in friendship we simply must tolerate one another, with all the gentleness and grace and mercy we can muster, and only with the help of God. As we hold one another accountable, we will also hold one another closely. Though essential, this is not an easy task, which is probably why we have so many acquaintances but so few holy friends. It’s hard work! More precisely, these holy friends are worth running with together, side by side, through the obstacles of life. Another way of saying,”we grow through the storms together.”
With a prescription of mutual humbleness, gentleness, and foregiveness, we are to:
* move toward greater peace and harmony
* listen and help friends going through conflict
* practice forbearance and gentleness with each other
* meditate on things that are true, honorable, and worthy of God’s praise
* keep on keeping on in the work of Christ, together
Holy friends call each other forward to a shared life in Christ becoming a community of people who sustain one another in the journey of faith, rejoicing together in the Lord. Most of all may we thrive in the gift of holy friendship, full of mutual forbearance and a relationship with the Lord. And we pray: Father in heaven where I see suffering and grief, give me your heart of compassion. Give me whatever I need to express your comfort and loving care. Amen.